Grace and Peace: Bring It On!
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 1:2, NKJV
Have you ever noticed that every Epistle in the New Testament starts with some variation of these words, "Grace to you and peace from God…"? Most of them end with something like this, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you…."
Romans, First and Second Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, First and Second Thessalonians, First and Second Timothy, Titus, Philemon and Hebrews—even James, and First and Second Peter—bestow "grace and peace" on the reader in the first and last chapters. The Book of Revelation—the last book in the Bible—has as its last words, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." (Revelation 22:21, NKJV)
You kinda get the idea that the Lord wanted His people filled with grace and peace!
Perhaps "grace and peace" are more than nice sounding platitudes or modes of greeting? Maybe these salutations and benedictions were intentional and carried more weight than "Yo homey…bless ya," "What's up bro?" or "Peace out…" but rather, were weighty, tangible spiritual forces with the potential to empower and bless believers?
What is grace? Grace—from the Greek word "charis"—is a multi-faceted word. The Bible refers to "saving grace," "standing grace," and "serving grace." Grace is the tangible expression of God's favor, joy, delight and His divine influence upon the heart. My favorite meaning of "charis" is from Thayer's Greek Lexicon: "…charis is used of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues…."
When "grace" is bestowed upon us—we receive God's favor, joy, delight and His divine influence in our hearts. We receive His inner strength and ability to do all that is set before us. Wow! Bring it on!
What is peace? Peace—from the Greek word "eirene"—implies prosperity. Peace refers to that tranquil state, quietness, rest. It speaks of harmony between individuals and peace with God. Thayer's Greek Lexicon says this, "…according to a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot…."
The thing about peace that is so remarkable is that sometimes it's easier to notice when it's gone! A lack of peace is a life of turmoil, anxiety, unrest, rage and frustration. God must have wanted His people loaded with peace of heart and mind at all times. When we receive peace, we enjoy a quiet, tranquil, fearless heart full of confidence, assurance and rest in the God with whom we have peace. His peace acts like a bodyguard—only it guards our minds and hearts in the midst of trouble and fear. Wow! Bring it on!
Say It: "Father, I agree with Your Word. I ask for grace and peace from You, the God and Father, and from my Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus' Name. Amen."
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